My internal iPhone 3G debate

Man, when Uncle Steve announced the iPhone 3G the other day I was hooked, again. I saw 3G on an iPhone and a low price point and I decided to get one as soon as I could. My wife almost immediately told me I couldn’t have one but I was sure I would win her over (ok, not really but she would stop saying no eventually). Then, as I did when the iPhone first came out, I started thinking about the iPhone’s specs and came up with a few reasons for me not to get the new iPhone.

My one reason for buying an iPhone would be so I can toss my Nokia N73 (worst phone purchase I have made to date) and use a single device instead of carting around my iPod and my phone. The immediate problem with the iPhone 3G is that its capacity only goes up to 16GB which is really disappointing considering that the iPod Touch goes as high as 32GB (and even then I expected an upgrade to 64GB or so by now). If I am going to have a truly useful single device the device must have more than 64GB of drive space to accommodate my existing iTunes library and then have space for the apps and other data on the phone side. My brother thinks I am nuts and says that 16GB is loads of data for a phone but the iPhone is not just a phone so I should expect more.

The price point is very attractive. $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model are pretty good prices even when translated into ZAR. The fine print reveals a different perspective on the pricing (as does the iPod Touch pricing model which starts at $299). The iPhone is so cheap because you have to get it on a contract! We have been doing that here since we had mobile phones. The contract with the mobile service provider subsidises the cost of the iPhone. I do wonder what it will cost if I was going to buy it cash. I am betting it won’t be $299 for the 16GB model.

My next issue with the iPhone 3G is that the camera is still only a 2 megapixel camera and there isn’t any mention of video support. Compared to my excuse for a phone the iPhone camera is downright primitive. I got the N73 because of its decent camera and because I like to take photos and shoot basic video on the go. A move to the iPhone would be a step backwards in this respect.

What is starting to make more sense for me (again) is a new iPod Touch. It is probably worth waiting for a bigger capacity version (although I am going to Japan at the end of next month and might be able to pick one up for less than the cost of one locally). What makes a move to this platform worthwhile for me is the new OmniFocus app although with the emphasis on the iPhone I am not sure if the app will run on the iPod Touch too. That being said even the iPod Touch is not the ideal solution for me. My ideal solution is still an iPhone but an iPhone with a bigger drive and a better camera.

Don’t get me wrong here. The iPhone is an awesome device and if it cost 100 bucks (ZAR, not US$) I’d get one in a heartbeat but given what I want from a mobile device, especially from Apple, this version is not for me (that sound you hear is my wife’s eyes rolling), at least for the time being. I guess I will stick with my N73 for now. It still manages to make calls … most of the time.

Update: On the topic of the price point, there is a post on Engadget with European prices for the unsubsidised iPhone 3G. Not quite the $299 Uncle Steve promised all around. I think we can look forward to similar pricing here in SA.

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